minimalism, rethunk

By Leo Babauta

As many of you know, I’ve been passionate about minimalism for awhile now, but as the trend towards simplicity and minimalism has grown, it’s given me pause for thought.

The minimalism trend has had certain elements that leave some readers with a bad taste in their mouths: elements of hype and salesmanship, elements of obsession, elements of one-upsmanship, a focus on aesthetics, a focus on possessions to the point of obsession.

I have to confess I’m as guilty of these things as anyone else, so please don’t take this as an attack on anyone. If anything, it’s simply me, holding up a mirror and giving myself a close inspection.

It’s true that when we obsess over what (few) possessions we have, it has a hold on us just as much as if we were hoarders. I publish my list of 50 things not so much to obsess over every little thing I have, but as a way to say: limits are good things. And as a way to inspire others, to show them that it’s possible.

But still. Obsession over possessions is unhealthy, and it needs to be rethunk.

Minimalism, as discussed on minimalism and simplicity blogs, can also become a game of one-upsmanship — showing how little we have (it all fits in a backpack!), how far we’ve come (not only have I given up my car, but my house and my computer too!), how cool our setup (my desktop has fewer icons than yours). I’ve done it, and if other writers are honest, they’ve done it too, even if they didn’t mean to.

Let’s let go of these obsessions with the perfect setup, with showing simple desks and desktops and software and so on.

And that brings me to minimalism, rethunk: we need to let go.

Let go of obsessions, and embrace the moment.

Let go of salesmanship and hype, and be content.

Let go of one-upsmanship and competitiveness, and just share and encourage.

Let go of control, and embrace what comes.

Let go of perfection, and just do.

Some recent posts on my other blog, mnmlist, you might be interested in: